Context is everything. Ludwig van Beethoven dedicated his 26th piano sonata to Archduke Rudolph of Austria. The nickname of the sonata is "Les Adieux" or "Farewell," and I've heard speculation on the supposed relationship between the composer and his patron and friend.
Just knowing the title page on the first edition helps clarify some facts: "On the departure of his imperial highness, for the Archduke Rudolph, in admiration."
What a difference there was between Mozart and Beethoven. Where the former was often forced to wear livery and eat with the servants, Beethoven hobnobbed with nobility and taught some of them music and piano.
When he didn't feel he was getting what he deserved, the composer, in 1808, put out the rumor that he was considering a position with a Napoleon brother and would leave for Westphalia.
We learn from others, or as Picasso said, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Beethoven took this advice and borrowed from Mozart and Haydn, but quickly progressed.
Where some would borrow a sonata development or structure, Beethoven would take the layout, hacksaw it off and replace it with an invention of his own, or invert something and swap parts around, much like car nuts did in the early days of Hot Rod building.
But the composer's days of modifying others' ideas was over.
Maria Bachmann's latest CD, "French Fantasy," featuring pianist Adam Nieman, pays tribute to those lyrical and dramatic French composers Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saens, and Cesar Franck, whose sonata she considers the "heart" of her latest album.
Deirdre Saravia spoke with her recently about her career and this latest solo release.
Alison Balsom's U.S. tour covers the east coast, west coast and luckily, Texas! Trumpet fans around the country have been heralding Balsom as she performs with the Scottish Ensemble.
In this interview, she shares insights about traveling with two trumpets and a two year old, as well as keeping things fresh musically night after night. Alison is also excited to be on stage this summer in a new play written for her!
The hearts of all who love and care for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are weeping today with the announcement of the passing of trumpeter Adolph Herseth. For over a half century (1948-2004), he was the principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Along with tubist Arnold Jacobs, Herseth and his brass playing colleagues evolved into the most powerful and accomplished orchestral brass section in the world. This is no exaggeration!
I remember as yesterday my first substantial introduction to the art of Colin Davis. The cycle of Sibelius Symphonies he recorded with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was outstanding, enhanced further by the art work, drawn from the paintings of Edvard Munch. The music world reacted much as I had, declaring Sir Colin an authoritative interpreter of Sibelius. He came back to the cycle at least twice afterwards, making studio recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and then a cycle of concert recordings with the LSO.